Jun
08
2009

Mecha-hobby will lift, bend and sit-up you into robo-oblivion

The Willow Ptarmigan Award in its natural habitat: The original W.P.A.o.M. was given to Anchorage native Troy Smoltz for taping a clock radio to his forehead. The award was then taken back after Smoltz took a bath while wearing his new invention.
The Willow Ptarmigan Award in its natural habitat: The original W.P.A.o.M. was given to Anchorage native Troy Smoltz for taping a clock radio to his forehead. The award was then taken back after Smoltz took a bath while wearing his new invention.Courtesy National Park Service
Popular Science’s website is featuring another clever engineering dude with time on his greasy hands. You’ll remember last year’s “Beaver State Award of Mega”—this is pretty much the same thing.

Carlos Owens of Wasilla, Alaska, has built himself an 18-foot-tall mecha suit.

For those of you not in the know (out of the know, if you will), I suppose “mecha” is just a prefix for anything made to be mechanical. But as far as popular culture is concerned, “mecha” is a prefix for anything vaguely Japanese and robotic. (And popular culture is the arbiter of anything worthwhile knowing.) In this case, it’s the latter definition that applies; Owens’ 18-foot-tall suit is vaguely Japanese and robotic.

According to the article, the suit mimics its pilot’s movement though a system of cables attached to hydraulic cylinders, and it can “raise its arms, bend its knees, and even do a sit-up.”

Oh, um… awesome. Except, why wasn’t “fight a laser-sword space battle” on that list of features? Or “rip a dragon in half”? Or, you know, “walk”? Because I can do a sit-up (singular) and I can walk, and, even wearing a watch, I could hardly be considered mecha.

Anyway, it’s still pretty neat. Check it out. And, for consistency’s sake, Carlos Owens will be receiving the Willow Ptarmigan Award Of Mecha. Look for it in the mail, Mr. Owens.

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